Sonita is from the Koh Kong province and lives with her parents and younger brother. Her parents are rainy-day rice farmers, and her brother is in grade one. She is in grade four and excels in Khmer literature and math. She shared that she would like to be a lawyer some day.
When not studying, Sonita likes writing stories, reading books, doing homework, watching TV, and going to the market with her mother. At home, she eats a soft meal and drinks juice due to her inability to open her mouth.
Sonita was born with temporal mandibular joint ankylosis. This is a bony or fibrous adhesion of the mandible joint components. Trauma is the most frequent cause, followed by infection, but Sonita’s parents do not know how she developed it. She is unable to open her mouth, causing difficulties with chewing, speaking, and oral hygiene as well as limiting the growth of her mandible (micrognathia). She is shy, and shared that she is often embarrassed that she cannot speak well enough to be heard.
Her parents took her to a local hospital when she was three, but did not receive any treatment. A villager suggested her parents should visit our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre, for a diagnosis and treatment. Doctors have determined that she needs a bilateral condylectomy with the addition of a bone graft from her femur. Now, her family needs help to pay for the $469 procedure. Your donation will cover Sonita’s surgery, medicines, and hospital stay.
Sonita’s mother said: “We are hopeful that the doctors can fix my daughter’s jaw so she can open her mouth. We worry that she will not grow well because she cannot eat well.”